One of the consequences of leading a sedentary lifestyle is back pain. This is especially true for gamers, who spend long hours sitting down. Reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, for the year 2011–12, National Health Survey have shown that approximately 13.6% of the Australian population, which sums up to 3 million Australians, suffer from back ache. Furthermore, almost 70% to 90% of people have experienced back pain at one point or other in their lives. Whether you are suffering from back aches, recurring pain or even stiffness, practicing back-pain exercises and stretches is one of the most efficient ways to relieve back pain and boost overall wellbeing. Below are the top 18 back-ache relief exercises to help you get started.
1. Spinal Stretch
Lie on your back with your hand stretched outwards and palms facing down. Slowly bend your leg to one side of your body, while facing the opposite direction. Place your knee such that the opposite hand is on top of the bent knee. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
2. Knee to Chest Stretch
Lie on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Pull one leg back and hold it close to your chest to make a 60 degree angle, using both your hands. Hold your leg in this position for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
3. Hamstring Floor Stretch
Lie on your back with legs bent at 90 degrees, one leg at a time. Slowly straighten and grab the back of your leg with your hands. Pull your leg towards your body and hold for 30 seconds. A slight discomfort is normal, but stop when you start to feel pain.
4. The Hip Flexors Stretch
Assume a kneeling position and raise your right leg, placing your foot on the floor. Now shift your weight to your right leg and move forward. Lean forward in this angled-forward position until you feel a mild stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and later repeat this with the other leg.
5. Piriformis Stretch
Lie down and lift your right leg to rotate it externally, away from the midline, placing your right ankle on your left knee. Now slowly bring the left knee near your chest. Next, clasp your hands around the left hamstring muscles. Now pull your right ankle and left knee using your hand. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
6. Complete Back Stretch
Start by standing one-arm’s length away from a sturdy object, such as table. Lean forward, slightly bending your knees and hold the edge of the object with both hands fully extended and head in line with your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds.
7. Quadriceps Lying Down Stretch
Lie down on your side keeping your hips, knees and shoulders in a straight line. Bring one of your heels towards you by holding your ankle until you feel stretched in your front thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and then repeat by turning over to the other side.
8. Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stand in front of a sturdy object and place one foot on top of that object. Keep the trunk and knee straight, while leaning forward and bending near the hips. Hold for 20 seconds.
9. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back keeping your knees bent with arms at your sides and palms flat. Take a deep breath and exhale as you flatten your back, until your neck, back of the head and spine get pressed against the floor. Lift the pelvic area as you exhale. Repeat this 30 times.
10. Cat and Camel
Kneel down with your hands flat on the floor. Take a deep breath and inhale as you lift your lower rib. Relax your neck by rounding your back. Maintaining a firm abdomen, exhale and then lower your chest. Repeat this several times while looking up slightly.
11. Quadrupled Arm/leg Raise
Kneel down with your hands flat on the floor and raise one arm, without rising or twisting your shoulders. Then slowly straighten and raise your leg to the opposite side. Keep your hips and neck motionless. Repeat with the opposite leg and arm.
12. Extension Exercise
Lie down facing the floor. If this gets uncomfortable, then use a pillow under your stomach. Hold for 1 minute and then prop up on your elbows. Hold for 1 second and then lower your back. Repeat this 10 times.
13. Partial Curl
Lie down with knees bent and feet flat. Tighten your stomach muscles and tuck your chin to your chest. Now curl your upper body forward by placing your hands on your chest. Hold for 3 seconds. Breathe while doing this. Repeat 10 times in a set.
14. Gluteal Stretch
Lie down with bent knees. Keep your hands straight and place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Hold until you feel a slight stretch, but not pain. Stretch for 20 seconds, three times each.
15. Side Plank
Lie on your side and prop your upper body using your elbows. Keeping your legs straight, begin lifting your hips away from the floor. Hold for 6 seconds and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
16. Bridge Pose
Lie down with knees bent. Extend your arms while keeping palms flat. Lift your hips towards the ceiling. Draw your tailbone in and stay in this position with buttocks away from the floor. Never flex your buttocks or squeeze the gluteal muscles. Hold for 1 minute.
17. Prone Spine Stretches
Lie down on your stomach. Place palms below shoulders with the top of your feet flat on the ground. Engage the abdominal muscles, while slowly lifting the head up. Continue till the upper body and chest are away from the floor with arms straightened. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat this 5 times.
You've now completed all of our stretches, so take a moment to relax. Place a pillow under your legs and lie flat on a blanket with hands out and breathe.